Felicidades! (That’s Spanish for “congrats”). It’s time to say hola to your dream vacation in Spain. But before you go, it’s important to consider how SIM Cards in Spain can save you money while you share your experiences with family and friends.
You’ve booked your flights, reserved your accommodations, and built yourself an itinerary for your adventure in Iberia. But what about staying in touch? Spain’s a budget traveler’s best friend — but not if you rack up insane roaming charges on your phone. Calling home, finding your way around town with Google Maps, and updating your Instagram can take a big toll on your phone bill.
One option is to turn your phone into a console and only use it in places with free Wi-Fi, but that can get frustrating fast. Want to look up the Prado’s opening times? You better hope the password that comes with your café con leche is on a network that isn’t overloaded and slow.
So, what can Cheapos do to use their phones like they do at home? Buy Sim Cards and use them in unlocked phones! Not sure how to unlock your phone? Check out our article on buying a SIM Card in Europe for more details.
So what exactly are you buying with a Spanish SIM card? Essentially, you’re purchasing a small chip with a Spanish phone number on it. When you put it in an unlocked phone and load it up with credits, you’ll be able to make telephone calls, send texts, and use data on your phone just like at home. Most SIM Cards in Spain will also work all over Europe due to European Union regulations about roaming charges across borders. Just remember to ask for a “tarjeta prepago” (prepaid card), unless you happen to want a long-term contract with a Spanish provider.
Finding the best deal for your particular circumstances can be a bit confusing, but don’t worry, we’re here for you. To make this process easier, we’ve spent some time researching the best options for travelers and have come up with three cost-conscious SIM Cards to help you save while you explore Spain.
This article was updated in November 2021 with new information and prices.
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The best SIM Cards in Spain for your trip
Pros: The number one option for Cheapos. Great coverage across Europe. Can be purchased in advance.
Cons: Limited to 14 days.
The best bargain for everything a traveler could want is with Orange. The price of €49.90 includes 20GB at 4G+ speed, unlimited calls and SMS within Europe, and 120 minutes of talk time and 1,000 SMS to your home country.
Once you sign up for the €49.90 plan, you have 14 days to use up your balance. If you’ll be traveling for longer, you can renew the prepaid plan for €11 to €40 when your time is up. Orange will send you a reminder. Otherwise, you’re all done.
Pros: Wide coverage in Spain. Stores are located all over the country.
Cons: Only limited data included. Per-minute charges for calls.
Movistar has some of the widest coverage in Spain. If you plan to travel to tiny villages and hike in the middle of nowhere, you may want to go ahead and pay a little extra for a Movistar prepay plan.
The most popular SIM card costs €20. The plan includes 75GB of data and 150 minutes of calls in Spain. International calls are an additional €1.21 per month plus 22 cents per minute (plus EU roaming). SMS is €0.31 each. Since it used to be a part of the Spanish national phone company, Telefónica, Movistar stores are easy to find almost everywhere in Spain.
Cost: Bundles start at €5
Pros: Affordable for international calls and data.
Cons: Not many stores. Auto-renewal policy can be confusing.
Lycamobile is one of the cheapest options for unlimited international calls and using lots of data. The downside? There are fewer storefronts to sign up, although you can order the SIM card online.
One possibility, if you don’t want to hunt down the nearest shop, is to talk to your accommodation about having it shipped directly there just before your trip. This way, your SIM is waiting for you upon arrival. Just don’t arrange things too far in advance because your SIM comes with a pin that expires in 15 days.
Bundles start as low as €5. If data is your big priority, Lyca Globe 20 is a good option with 35GB for up to 28 days and EU roaming all for €20. If you’re more interested in phoning home, grab the Lyca Globe 15 or Lyca Globe 20, both of which offer unlimited national calls and 1,000 minutes of international calls, plus 20GB to 35GB of data for €15 or €20 for the first 28 days. Just remember to uncheck the auto-renewal box at purchase time unless you’re staying for more than 28 days.
If you’re not sure if you signed up for auto-renewal or just want to double check that you did indeed cancel, dial *190# and follow the instructions to end your service.
More SIM Card tips in Europe
Don’t wait until the last minute before you start researching Sim Cards in Spain (and beyond!). It can be a bit complicated, but we’ve compiled a few articles that will come in handy:
Have you used SIM cards in Spain or another country in Europe? Let us know your tips for saving on your phone bill.
Source: Euro Cheapo